When the seventh season of MasterChef Junior premieres on FOX on March 12, judges Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, and Aarón Sanchez will be staring down a couple local faces. Kyle Sisitsky, a 12-year-old Harrison resident, and 10-year-old Shannen Hosman of Scarsdale will be among the culinary prodigies competing for a $100,000 grand prize and the MasterChef Junior trophy.
Here, Kyle and Shannen sound off on what they cook at home and what’s to come on the show.
How long have you been cooking, and what was the first dish you ever made?
Kyle: I’ve been cooking for eight or nine years now. I made matzo ball soup with my grandma.
Shannen: I’ve been cooking since I was 7-years-old, and the first dish I ever made was scrambled eggs, except they ended up burnt!
Photo courtesy of FOX
What made you want to start cooking?
Kyle: I always saw my grandma in the kitchen during the holidays when I was younger. I was curious one day and asked her if I could join in. She let me, and I immediately fell in love with [cooking].
Shannen: My mom was cooking in the kitchen during the summer, and I came downstairs and asked to help her cook. At first my mom thought, can she help me? She decided I could, and that made me realize I really liked cooking.
What is your favorite dish to make?
Kyle: I have two favorite savory dishes that I make. One is a pistachio-crusted lamb with carrot purée and blackberry reduction. I also like making lobster in a saffron beurre blanc. My favorite sweet dish to make is my famous apple-pie cupcakes. They have a maple buttercream, are filled with apple compote, and are topped with toasted walnuts.
Shannen: My favorite dish to make is probably lamb chops with vegetables and mashed potatoes.
How did it feel to find out you were going on the show?
Kyle: I was really happy and overjoyed. I was so excited because I grew up watching this show, and I was so happy that my dream [of being on it was] finally was coming true.
Shannen: At first, I didn’t believe it. I was sitting in the kitchen when my mom told me. I said, “Nice joke, mommy.” Then, she showed me the email. I was so shocked. It was indescribable.
We know you can’t share all the details just yet, but what was your favorite part of filming?
Kyle: My favorite part was meeting all these new friends. I’ve made so many friendships along the way. I still keep in close contact with them and they’re all really nice!
Shannen: You learn a lot of stuff and see how they film everything. Watching these shows on TV isn’t the same as being there when they’re filming; it was cool to be on the inside.
Photo courtesy of FOX
Without sharing any spoilers, what did you learn from the experience?
Kyle: I learned that you have to take an error and make it into something great. Criticism helps you get where you want to be. You have to accept that sometimes your dish isn’t great, but in the future, you’re going to have really good dishes if you build on what you’ve learned. Also, always make sure to season, season, season!
Shannen: I learned that just because you’re in a competition, it doesn’t mean everyone is competitive. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to talk to anybody or make a lot of friends because it would be super competitive, but I did make a lot of friends!
Now that you’ve had this incredible experience, what’s your next big move?
Kyle: I love being a chef. I have a passion for travel and geography. I would like to travel the world, try new foods, and become a food blogger or something along those lines.
Shannen: I love to sing, dance and act. I would love to sign up for more casting and take up more hobbies. Maybe more basketball lessons and vocal lessons. If I get another opportunity to be on a cooking show, then of course, I’d go on!
Kyle and Shannen’s journey starts Tuesday, March 12 at 8 p.m. on FOX. Click here for episodes info and weekly air times.
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